by Dru Frykberg, senior librarian for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Minnesota Chapter, Advertising & Marketing, Business & Finance, Government Information Divisions
Warnings of a possible new recession surfaced this month amidst unimpressive job growth, declining consumer spending and a tanking stock market. Meanwhile, I recently returned to work after a three-week layoff, the result of Minnesota’s government shutdown.
I really didn’t need more reasons to take this Future Ready stuff seriously – I was already a convert.
I made what I considered a smart move to librarianship in the mid-1990s – when the Internet was soaring and so was our economy. I left journalism for a career offering more regular hours, better pay (really), and plenty of job openings.
Today, I still believe library work was the right choice, especially when I see news jobs and organizations disappearing. In fact, a recent issue of my alumni magazine devoted itself to how journalists can better prepare for mid-career transitions.
Information professionals should be planning and preparing for career changes, too, whether that means adapting to new demands in our current jobs, making ourselves more indispensable within our organizations, or considering transitions to related and high-demand fields.
A U.S. Department of Labor tool, mySkills myFuture at www.myskillsmyfuture.org, aims to help by providing a bridge to new careers based on a job seeker’s work history.
mySkills myFuture is about to celebrate its first anniversary. The Obama administration encouraged its development to prevent a double-dip recession by helping those in low-demand or vanishing professions find new jobs.
Here’s how mySkills myFuture works: Enter your current or past job and you’re presented with occupations requiring comparable skills. Submit “librarian” and these matches with especially bright outlooks are suggested:
- Market research analysts
- Public relations specialists
- Personnel recruiters
- Training and development specialists
- Instructional coordinators
- Employment interviewers
From there, you can learn about the recommended careers, find job openings and discover how to prepare for these new opportunities.
I’m not saying we all should become market research analysts. But perhaps some of us can use mySkills myFuture, and similar resources, to get ideas for additional training to make ourselves more marketable.
I work with market research analysts and this information makes me want to pick their brains even more to learn how I can boost my analytical skills. Not only would this help me provide clients better results and insights, but it would increase my value within my organization and in the job market. In this climate of doing more with less, I might just keep my job by working as both an information professional and analyst.
We should also partner with these types of professionals within our workplaces to learn from them, tout our expertise and services, and together produce good work.
That’s what I try to do with my public relations colleagues. I provide research for our staff writers, and occasionally I research and write articles. But who knows, in the future my agency or the labor market might demand information professionals with public relations skills, and this ongoing experience will help keep me employed.
And let’s take the results from mySkills myFuture a step further and promote SLA to these professionals who have occupational skills and interests similar to our own.
Dru Frykberg, president-elect of SLA’s Minnesota Chapter, is a senior librarian for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. She has spent more than 15 years working in government, academic and public libraries. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and criminal justice, and a master’s in library science from Indiana University in Bloomington. Contact her at email@example.com.